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2020 Mitsubishi Outlander Exceed: Private Fleet Car Review.

This Car Review Is About: A lightly refreshed for 2020 Mitsubishi Outlander Exceed. There are no external changes although one would suspect a front end revamp to bring it even more into line with the edgier looks now seen on the rest of the family will come deep in 2020.Under The Bonnet Is: The familiar petrol and CVT combination. The CVT is programmed but with only six “steps” as opposed to the more common seven or eight. The diesel engine is largely unavailable save for being inside the Exceed and LS AWD. Only the entry level ES has a manual option and it seems that the PHEV is due for an upgrade in early 2020.

At 2.4L in capacity it’s right in the ballpark for petrol engine’s in this type of vehicle. Peak power of 124kW and peak torque of 220Nm arrive at 6,000rpm and 4,200rpm respectively. Maximum towing is 1,600kg (braked).Economy figures in a driving sense vary thanks to Mitsubishi’s on-the-fly measurements. Our final figure was a very good 6.3L/100km, with Mitsubishi saying 7.2L/100km for the combined. Our figure was on a highway run, with 8.5L/100km seeming the norm in suburbia. Tank size is 60L.

How Much Does It Cost?: At the time of writing, Mitsubishi are offering the petrol version at $45,790 drive-away. That includes 7 years warranty and 2 years free scheduled servicing. It’s also a substantial discount from the $43,290 plus government and dealer charges.

On The Outside It’s: Unchanged. The Outlander is the only vehicle left in the Mitsubishi fleet that doesn’t sport the jut-jawed and squared off at each end design, instead retaining the rounded and ovoid look of the past near decade, even with the shield grille look.Rubber comes from Toyo’s A24 range and were 225/55/18 in configuration. The spare is a space saver. These sit on a 2,670mm wheelbase and allow for a balanced look in the front and rear overhang for the 4,695mm total length. Our test car came clad in metallic red and contrasts nicely with the black urethane wheel arches and side mouldings. Headlights are LED for high and low beam. Rear lights are full LED also except for the fog lights.

On The Inside It’s: Largely unchanged. The highlight here is the revamped interface for the 8.0 inch touchscreen. It’s not as un-user-friendly as the Eclipse Cross but still less so than that found in the Triton. DAB audio is standard but the speaker system let’s it down. There is a bass/midrange/treble equaliser in the settings, but finding the right balance was tricky. The bass was either too boomy or at a level that lacked punch. Vocals, the midrange, lacked cut-through. Android Auto, Apple CarPLay, and Bluetooth connectivity with voice activation are standard as is satnav.Minor quibbles continued with the seats. Powered and leather they may be, but the material was flat in surface texture and lacked eyeball drawing appeal. And again the Australian need for venting in leather seats was overlooked, with heating but not cooling fitted. There was, though, a powered, not manual, lumbar adjustment, and this is great for longer driving stints.

The second row seats are 60/40 foldable, and third row the usual 50/50 split and accessed via the brilliantly simple pullstrap, providing a 1,608 litre cargo section when the powered tailgate was opened. Another minor quibble here; the rear door would self raise from either the key fob or from a driver’s located tab, but not when the exterior button itself was pressed. With the third row down, there’s a more than handy 478L available.The Outlander Exceed supplied didn’t come with a HUD, a Head Up Display. It’s worth pointing out as the Eclipse Cross Exceed does. The S-AWC or Super All Wheel Control is standard here and has Active Yaw Control included.Cabin ergonomics are largely ok however some tabs are well below the driver’s eyeline and down near the right knee. It’s worth considering relocating these purely on a safety basis. Rear seat passengers have two USB ports. All windows are one touch up and down, a seeming rarity in some cars and brands. What was noted is the update to the controls for the dual zone climate control. The Outlander has moved to a classier chromed and almost piano black look for the dials, and they’re now relocated and knurled in look.

Otherwise, the look and feel of the cabin is standard Mitsubishi. Visually it’s a mix of pleasing lines and a bone over black colour palette, with a sunroof providing the extra airiness and spaciousness for the passengers. There is also plenty of space thanks to 1,437mm shoulder room up front. the squarish front profile means 1,425mm is available for the second row. Head room is1,014mm for the front, and 944mm for the second row. Leg room front and second row is 1,039mm and 948mm.On The Road It’s: Surprisingly sluggish from a standing start, even allowing for how a CVT drains performance from a normally zippy and peppy petrol engine. And at 1,525kg is no heavyweight and just starting to fringe on a light-heavyweight compared to its competition. Acceleration, what there is of it, is less than adequate with normal foot pressure and requires a solid shove to get anything resembling velocity. It’s truly unusual and one of the worst we’ve experienced in that respect. But flip the drive selector to Sport mode and there’s an instant change in character. It’s more of the zippier and peppier car expected, with far better acceleration and dynamics.It also was very light in the steering with a lot of assistance. The ratio is variable with more front wheel movement becoming obvious as the tiller went left and right. It’s also easily affected by crosswinds and that came as a surprise too. The winds that plagued Sydney during the review period also showed how susceptible to cross-winds the Outlander was, with the broad and upright sides catching the wind and moving the SUV around. The suspension is the typical MacPherson strut, coil spring front and multi-link rear. Irrespective of the wind affected drive, it’s very easy to drive, it’s quiet, and the supple suspension is well sorted for varying road conditions. The brakes are good with just the right amount of bite per feeling of travel.

What About Safety?: It’s the supreme pizza here. Forward Collision Mitigation is standard, as is Adaptive Cruise Control. Lane Departure Warning, Blind Spot Alert, Lane Change Assist, and Rear Cross Traffic Alert are also here. Ultrasonic Misacceleration Mitigation System (UMS) is standard and more on the safety package can be found here.What About Warranty And Servicing?: As mentioned, there is a seven year warranty and two year free scheduled servicing offer available. For specific details as they’re subject to change, please contact your Mitsubishi dealer.

At The End Of The Drive. The Outlander nameplate is coming up to two decades old in Australia. It started with a Lancer based small SUV about the size of the ASX. It morphed into a larger SUV with Lancer hints before changing again into the rounded body shape we see now.

It’s served as a capable addition to the Mitsubishi family and as their largest passenger oriented car, as in not also offering dedicated off-road capability such as the Triton based Pajero Sport, it holds its own. In this case the power delivery really lacked urgency, leaving us somewhat bemused as to the disappearance of what normally seems a decent driveline. The fact that Sport mode had to be selected to engender any sense of get up and go has left us pondering why.

On the upside is decent dynamics in the ride and handling, a superb safety package, and still attractive looks. Oh, and the drive-away price is enticing too. The Mitsubishi website can tell you more.

2020 Mitsubishi Triton GLX+: Private Fleet Car Review.

This Car Review Is About: The slightly updated Mitsubishi Triton four door cab chassis in GLX+ spec. There was a couple of updates for the range and specifically for the GLX+ it received a rear diff lock as standard (also for the GLS), plus the dual cab (as tested) was given a rear air circulator. The GLX+ model comes standard now with Easy-Select 4WD. A centre console mounted dial, as seen in other Tritons, allows easy switching between 2WD and 4WD modes and offers 2H, 4H and 4L transfer case settings.Under The Bonnet Is: A 133kW, 430Nm 2.4L diesel. Peak torque arrives at 2,500 rpm but there’s mixed messages below that. There’s an indecent amount of lag before the torque curve suddenly leaps upwards. From 2,000rpm there’s a gunshot surge of torque, not a smooth progessive delivery, and it’s enough to chirp the rear rubber and that’s with the driveline’s electronic nanny activated. It also provides a towing capacity of 3,100kg.How Much Does It Cost?: Mitsubishi’s RRP for the GLX+ four door cabin body starts at $40,990 for the manual diesel version with 4WD capability. The auto is $43,490. The Triton range itself kicks off with the 4X2 GLX Cab Chassis 2.4L Man Petrol $22,490 in a single cab body. The four door Crew Cabs start at $36,290 for the 4×2 GLX ADAS Pick Up 2.4L Auto Diesel. There is a three trim level Club Cab as well. Metallic paint is a $690 option. The manual was on sales at $37,990 drive-away at the time of writing (November 2019).

On The Outside It’s: Long and white. The redesign for the Triton range sharpened up each end, with the now signature “Shield” grille and inwards angled bumper side up front, a subtle change to the curve behind the second row doors, and a less curvy shape to the tail light cluster. It’s a look that seems to define the Triton as a “bloke’s ute”. That’s backed up by a solid looking set of tyres, The Bridgestone Dueler A/T rubber has a chunky tread block and stand at 245/70/18 with the alloys an efficient six spoke design. Driving lights and indicator lamps are in the far corners of the blocky front bumper.The tray fitted is big too. It’s 1,520mm in internal length, 1,470mm in width, and 470mm in depth. cargo capacity is 950kg. At the other end are hard jet washers for the windscreen. This is an area where the finer mist style would be far more efficient.On The Inside It’s: Functional and aesthetic in a minimalist sort of way. The aircon rear air circulator is perhaps the standout, as it’s a biggish dome shaped protrusion from the roof, with a set of slats facing the windscreen. The outlets are a pair of slimline vents and each have a flap to redirect the airflow. Up front is Mitsubishi’s standard and functional dual analogue dial and LCD screen setup. The centre console in the dash has a seven inch touchscreen and is better in usage than the screen in the Eclipse Cross. It’s the slightly older GUI and it’s safe to say it’s more user friendly. There is DAB, Bluetooth, a pair of USB ports and a HDMI port as well.Seats were cloth in covering, manual in adjustment, and comfortable enough for normal day-to-day driving. It’s a charcoal and light grey colour mix, contrasting with the black and light shades in the lower and upper sections of the cabin. The tiller is height and reach adjustable as well, meaning getting the right driving position shouldn’t be an issue. There is a dull alloy look plastic on the steering wheel’s spokes, circling the airvents, and on the centre console around the gear selector.Leg and shoulder room has never been an issue in the Triton and there’s plenty of space for people of all sizes. Shoulder room is 1,430mm, leg room a handy 1,020mm up front. 970mm is the measurement for rear seats. There is also a handy little icon that shows which seatbelts haven’t been connected when the car is ready to move away.On The Road It’s: Not nearly as wayward as its underpinnings as a work ute would suggest. It’s decently comfortable, handles better than expected, and speed can be washed off with the front end scrubbing the tyres. The suspension is tight up front, a little less so for the rear, naturally, in order to cope with the expected load usage. The steering is heavy but manageably so, and there is little free-play from centre, meaning steering response is quick.Unfortunately the very good handling and ride is hobbled by horrendous turbo lag and then a punch in the back. Twist the start key, fire up, engage Drive, and hit the go pedal. There’s a real and genuine wait for anything to happen as the turbo spools up, and the revs rise. Then kapow bam wham, it’s a far too instant launch as the numbers see two thousand. This really needs a smoother and more progressive torque delivery in order to make this a more driver friendly vehicle.

The brakes are well balanced, with enough feedback on the press of the pedal to get a sense of where the foot needs to be in order to haul up the two tonnes worth of metal. There’s enough to make sure than when going into corners and dabbing the brakes to use the front end scrub as well, that the combination become instinctive and driver friendly.The Safety Package Is: Good but could be better, and work utes are getting better in an area they’ve lagged in. Forward Collision Mitigation Warning with Pedestrian Detection is standard on the GLX+ as is Lane Departure Warning. Lane Change Assist and Blind Spot Warning, plus Rear Cross Traffic Warning are missing.

And the Warranty Is: Listed as 7 years, 150,000 kilometres, and servicing is free for two years as of December 1, 2019. Four years road side assist is included.

At the End Of the Drive. For what it is, the Triton range are a sturdy, solid, and worthwhile investment. The GLX+ drives well enough but that turbo lag is a problem. Standard equipment and trim is good enough for its intended market as well. The Mitsubishi website is where you’ll find out more.

2019MY Jeep Wrangler Overland: Private Fleet Car Review

This Car Review Is About: A slightly updated version of the overhauled Jeep Wrangler range that Australia received in mid 2019. That change occurred between December 2018 and early 2019 in the manufacturing process, and it was the addition of a forward facing sensor for anti-collision technology. The range itself covers the Overland in the middle, Sport S at the beginning, the range leading Rubicon. The Overland tested was also given the coveted “Trail Rated” badge. Jeep says this means: “The new Jeep “Trail Rated” badge indicates that every Jeep 4×4 has been designed to perform in a variety of challenging off-road conditions identified by five key consumer-oriented performance categories, including Traction, Ground Clearance, Manoeuvrability, Articulation and Water Fording.”How Much Does It Cost?: The list price is $63,950 plus on road costs. That’s as of November, 2019 for the MY19 version. Check with Jeep for the 2020 spec. The Wrangler range comes in a two and four door for the Sport S and Overland.

Under The Bonnet Is: 209kW and 347Nm of 3.6L V6 Pentastar petrol engine. Only the top of the trio Rubicon has a diesel option. Transmission in the Overland is an eight speed Selec-Trac auto and there is no manual available in the range. All Jeeps have a transfer case that offers 2WD, 4WD Auto, and high and low range. Our final economy figure was 11.7L/100km which worked out to be better than Jeeps quoted 13.0L/100km for the urban cycle. Tank size is 81L. That’s for the Sport S and Overland four door body. the two door versions have a 66L tank.On The Outside It’s: Oh so familiar with the round (and LED powered) headlights, squared off guards and stance, plus that seven bar grille. The doors, roof, and windscreen are removable and foldable in the case of the front screen. The driving and rear lights (in the traditional squared off housing) are also LED for the Overland. The rear gate is different in that the bottom door opens horizontally and has to be opened first to allow access to the top door. The wheels on the Overland at 18 inches in diameter and are wrapped in Bridgestone Dueler H/T 255/70. Big, solid looking, strong plastic steps run between the front and rear wheels. The black on the review vehicle contrasted nicely with the brushed satin alloy look og the wing mirror surrounds, driving light surrounds, and subtle enhancements to the grille.

What’s somewhat surprising about the Wranglers is just how small they are. Small in the context that they’re just 4,334mm in length, and pack inside that a 2,459mm wheelbase. Height is what makes the Wrangler look bigger, especially in the deep metallic black the review car was covered in. 1,839mm is the number here, and from the front the 1,894mm is obvious. The front has a very obviously American spec front bumper, protruding forward like a caricature’s chin. There is still 35.8 degrees of approach angle however. Departure is rated as 31.2 degrees, and breakover is 20.4. Wading depth is 760mm.On The Inside It’s: Far from the spartan look and feel once reasonably expected of a dedicated off-road capable vehicle. The overland has superbly supple black McKinley leather and an embossed Overland logo. The seats are beautifully comfortable, but are manually adjusted. That’s no bad thing though. Naturally there are grab handles for the front seat passengers, and the Wrangler Overland stays true to its basic roots by having a strong cloth strap as the door’s restrainer, not a mechanical option in the hinges.

It’s a beautiful and elegant design to the dash. and a highlight is the use of “old school” rotate and flip” airvents. This simple design allows airflow to be sent to any direction by twirling a circular and slotted design. Effective and ridiculously so. Front and centre is an 8.4 inch touchscreen that is also ridiculously simple to use. Climate control, satnav, and an beautifully tuned Alpine nine speaker DAB audio system are stars, and the audio is possibly the second best for depth, clarity, and stage presence, that we’ve heard. The materials used on the Overland’s dash look and feel premium, and it instantly said “welcome to your new home”. This gets backed by a 230V socket for the back seat, plus USB and USB-C plugs, and remote starting to get the aircon up and running.For the driver, it’s a design that can only be described as smart, clever, historic, and, yes, elegant. There is an LCD screen that shows multiple forms of information, but a small section on the left is cleverly blanked into a separate display to show which actual drive mode the Wrangler is in. A Jeep logo also shows briefly on the screen. A nice little touch is the compass information built into the rear vision mirror. It shows N, S, NW etc in a simple backlit font. A not quite so nice touch is the fact all four power window switches are one touch for down, but have to be held for the upwards travel. They’re also located in the centre of the vertically oriented dash, not in the driver’s door. The front guards aren’t also visible from the driver’s seat so sometimes it’s a bit “guessworky” to gauge where the fenders are.

Build quality for the body was tight, with no squeaks, rattles, or other extraneous noises that shouldn’t have been there. That included the removable roof panels, with a flick-twist lever to lift off. But there was a glitch with the driver’s seat belt mechanism. Seatbelts have a safety mechanism, one that tightens the belt before an impact. They also have a mechanism that allows a passenger to pull the belt out to buckle in. In this car, the mechanism simply refused, on numerous occasions, to release the belt to strap in.On the Road It’s: Somewhat spongy in the ride and loose in the steering. The sponginess comes from the high profile dual purpose rubber, and the steering….well. It really could do with being tighter for our market. What also needs tightening is the tolerance for the brake pedal. It’s one of the longest we’ve had for response and grip. Long, in the sense that there’s well over an inch of travel before bite, and it goes longer down the path before grip really improves. It’s these two areas that detract, and unfortunately quite a bit, from an otherwise engaging and enjoyable drive experience. Acceleration is decent enough, and there’s a satisfying rort and snort from the engine and exhaust. The off-rad capability is access via a lever on the left of the gear selector, and it’s a simple to use system. Neutral, select, go. And there’s no doubting the agility of the Overland thanks to that Trail Rated badge.What About Safety?: It has a good package. Front and rear sensors, airbags all round, plus Rear Cross Traffic Detection and Blind Spot Monitoring. Trailer Sway Control and Forward Collision Assist are there too. Tyre Pressure Monitoring is an essential item for vehicles such as this and this proved its worth thanks to an invisible nail in one tyre. the Reverse Camera is handy and the touchscreen’s HD capability makes reversing easier due to the clarity. Unseen is the high tensile strength steel that underpins the chassis rigidity and side panel strength.And The Warranty and Service?: Jeep offer a five year warranty on their range. Servicing costs are capped and here Jeep recommends contacting a dealer for your specific pricing.At The End Of The Drive. The Jeep Wrangler Overland delighted. That in itself was unexpected, and yes, that can be seen as damning with faint praise. Loose steering and spongy ride aside, it’s a delight to drive, and the ambience of the interior makes being in it to drive an enjoyable experience. It’s a long way from the sparse and spartan interiors, and indifferent build quality of years gone by. The tech features, comfort level, and the well proven off-road ability from its heritage made the time the Wrangler spent with us thoroughly engaging and drew a wry grin from a family friend who’d bought the same model, but just prior to the Forward Collision Warning system being made available. The Jeep Wrangler range and information can be found via the Jeep website.

2020 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross Exceed AWD: Private Fleet Car Review

This Car Review Is About: A slight revamped version, for 2020’s Model Year, of the top of the tree Exceed from the oddly proportioned and oddly named Eclipse Cross. The range itself had minor updates, such as the LS gaining the S-AWC, or Super All Wheel Control, drive system. The Exceed has some trim changes, with revised front door trims with illumination and a black interior headlining. Mitsubishi have also joined the club when it comes to offering a “Black Edition”. This adds in a front skid plate, black front bumper and radiator grille. There is also a black interior and black spoiler. Safety goes up a step with variable auto rain-sensing windscreen wipers, dusk sensing headlamps with auto high beam, fog lamps and forward collision mitigation.

How Much Does It Cost?:
The range starts at $29,990 for the ES 2WD with CVT. The LS 2WD with CVT is $31,990, before moving to the LS AWD at $34,490. Exceed 2WD starts from $36,690 with the AWD at $ 39,190. Black Edition 2WD with CVT is listed at $31,690. These are the manufacturers list price, without government and dealer charges. At the time of writing, Mitsubishi list it on their website as $42,990 drive-away.Under The Bonnet Is: A surprisingly small “donk”. It’s just 1.5L in capacity, drinks petrol only, and there is no hybrid option currently. It does have a turbo though, and that means there’s decent torque. In fact there is 250Nm from 2,000rpm to 3,500rpm. Peak power is 110kW at a typically high 5,500rpm. Fuel is 91RON or above, with economy quoted as (combined cycle) 7.7L/100km. That’s a figure we achieved and beat in our mainly urban drive cycle, with 6.7L/100km recorded. That’s a good figure considering it’s not a big vehicle yet starts at 1,555kg before any load and fuel.Drive was put to all four paws via an eight ratio CVT. It’s one of the better examples of a CVT and possibly due to not being overwhelmed by torque so much compared to bigger capacity, higher torque, engines. There was a notable lack of slippage in comparison to some of the CVTs we’re driven recently. By the way, Mitsubishi no longer offer a diesel in the Eclipse Cross.

On the Outside It’s: Awkwardly shaped. There’s no polite way of saying otherwise. It sports the “shield” front end treatment and LED headlights, however in profile and from the rear it’s….angular and somewhat out of proportion. The 4,405mm length hides a 2,670mm wheelbase, a high 1,685mm stretch from top to bottom, and 1,805mm in width. From the rear the glass is split horizontally and right in the eyeline of the driver.That wheelbase and length have a relatively normal looking profile from the nose to the rear of the passenger door, but then there’s a vertical rear that then folds forward over a truncated cargo section of sheetmetal. It’s not really helped by a long, straight, windowline that comes from the upper corner of the headlights and terminates just over a deeper crease line that starts mid-front door. This itself finishes at the base of the rear lights that also fold forward with the metal. The wheel arches offset this by being clad in the now familiar polycarbonate.

Above the driver is a glass roof, with a fixed panel for the rear seat passengers. It’s needed as the interior trim is black on black. Underneath are a set of 225/55/18 tyres from Toyo. They’re compromise tyres, so mainly for road, not off-road. Speaking of which, approach angle is just 18.8 degrees, with a departure angle of 29.6. That’s largely thanks to the squat arse it has. Ground clearance is 175mm, so if the plan is to get hot and heavy with anything other than the occasional puddle and speed-bump, this isn’t the faux off-roader for you.On The Inside It’s: Not uncomfortable. Leather seats, heated (not vented) up front and power adjustable for the driver’s, Head Up Display, four cup and bottle holders, start the party. DAB audio/Android Auto/Apple CarPlay are on board but via a very confusing layout on the 7.0 inchtouchscreen. We’re far from technologically impaired but when a need to consult a manual to find out how to store a radio station is required…The screen is high-definition, making the 360 degree camera views crystal clear.The tiller and gear selector have leather covering as well, and the plastics have a nice soft touch under the fingertips. All four windows are one touch up/down, and ignition is Start/Stop push button. There’s alloy look plastics to provide a bit of brightness around the centre console, airvents, and dash binnacle. Contrasting gloss piano black is on the door handle surrounds and the touchscreen. Outside, the wing mirrors can be power folded and they’re also heated.

Roomwise there’s enough. 1,003mm of headroom up front, 933mm in the rear means a feeling of spaciousness. Leg room is ample too, with 1,039mm and 897mm front and rear. Again, it’s needed with the black on black trim possibly feeling a bit claustrophobic. At least a shrug of the shoulders shouldn’t upset anyone, not with 1,428mm of space up front. Somehow Mitsubishi cram in 374L to 1136L of shopping space in the back. It’s JUST enough for the family average shop. BUT the rear seats may need to be called in as an assistant.On The Road It’s: Not a sparkling performer. That’s unsurprising given the size of the powerplant and the dry weight. But it’s not a slug, as such. Rapid, no. Adequate for Nan? Utterly. But this isn’t the kind of car that Nan would look at. This is for those that will look at the ASX and deduce it’s not right for them. It’s slightly bigger in presence and being petrol only it lacks the low down punch that a good diesel, even a small one, can deliver.

The upside is that the CVT really is one of the better ones. Because the turbo eases delivery in, the constant variable transmission doesn’t have that slippage feeling so commonly found elsewhere. This translates to a better driving experience as a result. And using the manual shift imbues the Eclipse Cross Exceed with a little more dynamism, a little more verve. The S-AWC helps somewhat, with the torque being distributed front to rear as required. But it’s not heavily front wheel biased in steering feel though. It’s also not light enough that a finger twirl elicits results, with a bit of heft required to get the front wheels angling.

It’s well tied down, with a ride that sets it apart from the competition. It’s flat on all but the most unsettled tarmac, with the dampers really in control. Absorption of general road irregularities is up there with the best. There’s no pogoing, no floppiness, it’s a tightly written composition underneath and confidence inspiring as a result. When it’s wound up it’s actually a fun little machine to take into some of the lovely curvy roads in the region. When the engine’s into its stride, it handshakes beautifully with the steering and suspension to get into an almost sporting mode.

What About Safety? It’s packed. First up, there is Forward Collision Mitigation system, which works with Adaptive Cruise Control. For sideways looking there is Lane Departure Warning and Blind Spot Warning plus Lane Change Assist. Seven airbags including driver’s kneebag feature also. Rear and front safety is backed by Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Ultrasonic misacceleration Mitigation System. Supplementary safety systems have Adjustable speed limiter, Automatic High Beam, Emergency Stop Signal function, plus Emergency Brake Assist system and Hill Start Assist.Warranty And Service? Five years warranty or 100,000 kilometres is their standard. It’s good but doesn’t quite measure up against those offering the unlimited kilometres offerings from competitors. However, new 19MY and 20MY Triton go the extra mile with 7 Year / 150,000km Mitsubishi Diamond Advantage New Car Warrantywhen purchased before 31st December 2019. Mitsubishi says the capped price servicing covers: all items specified under the regular service tables for each vehicle type detailed in the service and warranty booklet, including parts, labour, oils and fluids, workshop supplies and any applicable environmental or waste oil disposal charges. Pricing can be found here.

At The End Of The Drive. The Mitsibishi Eclipse Cross range provides a solid, if unspectacular option to vehicles such as Hyundai’s Tucson, or Kia’s Sportage. It’s a quirky looker, reasonable if familiar in its unspectacular interior and dash layout, and not an uncomfortable place to be in either. It’s dependable, and drives well enough. There’s enough, as expected, room for four, plenty of safety to protect the occupants, and, difficult to follow DAB screen aside, a user friendly environment in the equipment sense.

The engine is a reasonably willing unit, and the CVT is a well sorted unit for the engine’s capabilities. As a whole, the package is good enough for those that have chosen to buy it and that’s the end result Mitsubishi would hope for. The 2020 Model Year Eclipse Cross information can tell you more.

2020 Nissan Patrol: The Big Machine Gets A Makeover.

Nissan’s long-running competitor to the Land Cruiser, the Patrol, has been given a substantial makeover for the 2020 specification. Available to order through Nissan dealerships now, in a two model range, it’s priced from $75,990 (plus ORC) for the Nissan Patrol Ti, and the Ti-L is from $91,990 (plus ORC).

The exterior has been revised at the front and rear, and the safety levels have also been improved. The suspension has been further tweaked for a better ride, and there are now extra colours to choose from.Safety.
Standard equipment for both the Ti and Ti-L include: Intelligent Emergency Braking, Intelligent Forward Collision Warning, and Rear Cross Traffic Alert. The Ti now also has: Intelligent Cruise Control (ICC), Lane Departure Warning (LDW), Intelligent Lane Intervention, Blind Spot Warning (BSW), and Intelligent Blind Spot Intervention.

Outside.
The Ti has been given it’s own sportier looking front end treatment. The Ti-L goes for a premium, upmarket, look. The bonnet, fenders, grilles, LED lights and front bumpers have been modified for a more upright, no-nonsense stance. the headlights have a total of 52 LEDs, and there’s 44 LEDs in the rear. the rear lights are now in a stylish boomerang shaped cluster. The rear bumper has been restyled to match the solid lines of the rear, with a squarer look. Colour choices now have Moonlight White, Galaxy Gold & Hermosa Blue, which are new to the range.Inside.
Australia’s hot weather conditions require better air-conditioning and Nissan have updated the system in the Patrol for a tri-zone setup. Airflow has been improved and the rear seat passengers have been given better flow too. This means cooling will take place quicker and therefore will be more efficient. Access is via an intelligent key with remote keyless entry with push button Start/Stop, cruise control, heated door mirrors, plus 3D mapping for the sat-nav in an eight inch touchscreen.Power and Ride.
Both vehicles will have 298kW of power and 560Nm of torque from Nissan’s 5.6 litre V8 petrol engine. Drive gets to the ground via a seven-speed automatic transmission featuring manual mode and Adaptive Shift Control (ASC). There is also an electronic rear diff lock, Hill Descent Control (HDC) with on/off switch, Hill Start Assist (HAS) and an off-road monitor. The suspension tweaks have the dampers retuned for a more positive response for an increase in on-road comfort, and enhanced off-road comfort as well.

Contact your local Nissan dealer for a drive evaluation.

2020 Volvo V90 CrossCountry: Private Fleet Car Review

This Car Review Is About: The wagon or Estate or Tourer version of Volvo’s stunning S90 sedan. The CrossCountry raises the ride height from the sedan, goes all wheel drive, and adds exterior body mouldings. It’s fitted out with some lovely equipment too.How Much Does It Cost?: With no options fitted, and in metallic paint with the standard wheels & tyres, the Volvo website lists it as $91,200 driveaway.Under The Bonnet Is: A five cylinder diesel engine, with Stop/Start tech, producing 173kW and 480Nm. It’s rated as 7.2L/100km for the combined cycle. On our drive in a mainly urban setup, we averaged 7.8L/100km and it’s rated as EURO6 compliant. Tank size is 60.0L. Transmission is Volvo’s eight speed Geartronic auto driving all four paws. Volvo quotes a sub-eight second 0-100 kph time and a top whack of 235 kph from the 1,828kg (dry) machine.On The Outside It’s: Covered in a luscious Crystal White metallic, even pearlescent, paint with polycarbonate body mouldings. Rubber is 245/45/R20 with Pirelli supplying the P-Zero. The alloys are standard, with optionable 5 and 6 spoke designs on 19 inch diamond cut designs. It looks longer than the actual length of 4,939mm suggests, perhaps due to the low overall height of just 1,545mm. Wheelbase is 2,941mm. Front and rear exterior wheel to wheel is 1,879mm.The front is dominated by the glowing pair of “Thor’s Hammer” driving lights inside the slimline headlight clusters. These include the indicators as well. The bonnet is long, possibly a good third of the full length. It’s a very upright looking nose, and a pair of small aero wings sit close to the ground, just above small globes in the bottom corners of the bumper. The rear is equally dominated, this time with the signature “hockey sticks” for the lights, and here Cross Country is embossed into the upper section of the rear bumper, above an alloy look insert. The doors open wide too, making entry and exiting the V90 a painless experience.On The Inside Is: Standard sumptuous black Nappa leather pews. Two position memory for the driver’s seat. Rear seats with their own separate climate control and seat boosters for children. A powerful Bowers and Wilkins premium audio system including DAB. A powered tail gate that opens to a flat level and a capacity of 560L. It’s a long but not high cargo section though. There’s 1,026mm of head room up front, and 966mm for the rear seats. Front leg room is 1,071mm and the rear seats enjoy 911mm. What this means is that the V90 CrossCountry should fit most potential buyers. There’s certainly no shortage of a luxury feel. The Nappa leather ensures the occupants are cossetted and made to feel welcome. The aircon is touchscreen operated and is relatively simple to use. The touchscreen itself is vertically (portrait) oriented and is a swipe left or right to gain access to information on setup, apps, fuel, settings, safety features, etc. Naturally there’s Volvo’s variable LCD screen look too, with four different modes to suit the mood. For extra safety there is a 360 degree camera setup, with the only “downside” being the distortion of objects as the car gets closer to them. Drive modes are selected via the traditional knurled dial in the centre of the console. That also houses the rotate to the right Start/Stop dial. On The Road It’s: A typical diesel. Lag from a standing start before the torque explodes and launches the V90 forward easily and hurriedly. The low revving delivery of torque means that overtaking and highway acceleration is a doddle too. The eight speed self-shifter is a delight too, with a surety and confidence in its cog swapping up and down. Using manual shifting is almost redundant as a result.Handling was mostly on par, however there is understeer at low speeds and the extra ride height over the sedan and standard V90s can occasionally lend itself to a feeling of rolling slightly. However, this again appears more prominently at lower speeds. There’s plenty of grip, regardless, from the Pirelli rubber, meaning that is no issue with feeling the V90 will spear off into the undergrowth. At highway velocities, where the engine is ticking over at just 1,500rpm, the body firms and stiffens, with a very compliant ride yet feeling more tight and taut simultaneously. The steering becomes more intuitive and instinctive too, with no sense of being under or over-assisted. Whilst underway, the driver’s rear vision mirror lights up with a simple but effective compass direction. It’s placed and lit just so, with the font and brightness spot on as they’re both non-distracting yet very efficient. The Bowers & Wilkins audio system is also clear and punchy whilst underway, with bass providing a home theatre quality kick, and the dash mounted tweeter providing assistance in the changeable sound stage. The driver can select a presence where the sound is for all of the cabin or can be selected for the driver only. At any speed it’s a delight to experience.

What About Safety?: Volvo have loaded the V90 with a comprehensive safety package. Its Intellisafe System offers up Pilot Assist, a gentle lane keeping assistant. This shakes hands with the Oncoming Lane Mitigation system, that also assists in keeping the V90 in its own lane. Adaptive Cruise Control will measure the car’s distance to the one ahead and adapt to reduce or increase distance as required. Distance Alert goes hand in hand with the HUD or Head Up Display, and visually shows if the V90 has crept too close the vehicle ahead.

Airbags, naturally, abound, including one for the driver’s knees. These will come into play if the next feature isn’t successful. The Oncoming Mitigation by Braking is a Volvo safety world first that can detect if a vehicle heads straight towards your car on the wrong side of the road. If a collision can’t be avoided, it will brake your car automatically to further help reduce the effects of an impact. More about the safety features can been found here.

What About Warranty And Service?: Volvo lag here in the warranty stakes. There is a three year, not four or five or higher, warranty. That’s in comparison to the five years offered by BMW. Service costs though were slashed earlier this year, with a three year service plan for the V90 costing $3030 at the last available information.

At the End Of The Drive: Straight up, the Volvo V90 CrossCountry makes a worthy alternative to the over-saturated SUV marketplace. By offering a station wagon/tourer/estate in a luxury oriented vehicle, it provides buyers the chance to get into a vehicle that provides a more family friendly environment than a sedan yet isn’t bulky and road heavy like the bigger SUVs. It’s an easy drive, pulls like a locomotive, and is very well featured to boot. Get into your own V90 here.

2019 Tesla Model 3 Performance: Private Fleet Car Review.

This Car Review Is About: The Tesla Model 3’s middle specification car. There is the “entry level” Standard Plus, the car tested called the Performance, and the Long Range AWD to top the range.What Does It Cost?: The Performance has a starting price of $93,900. There are the usual government and delivery charges on top. Our review car came in a lovely multi-layered Pearl White, There are four other metallic colours and they are a $1,500 cost option. It’s also almost completely ready to drive autonomously with the “Autopilot” facility as standard. the full self drive is $8,500. All up, the review car prices out at just under $120,000.

On The Inside It’s:A mix of stark minimalism, hi-tech, and whimsy, with plenty of comfort. The Performance has the Premium Interior which is sumptuous black leather clad seats that are heated and powered for plenty of positioning options. There’s the same wood strip for the dash and the 15 inch landscape oriented touchscreen that has Google well and truly as its heart. This controls everything the car does; from steering wheel and mirror adjustment to tracking vehicles around the Model 3, from providing audio options such as TuneIn and Spotify (with the first year’s subscription free if you don’t already have it) to providing hilarity from the “Gas Emissions” tab in a entertainment submenu, and will even allow a name to be given to the car. The whimsy inside Tesla is highlighted by the “caraoke” option. You read that right. It’s exactly what you suspect and is intended to be used when the car is stationary. We can attest it will provide access when the car is stopped, but will play whilst underway. There is also access to Netflix, YouTube, and Tesla instructional videos.

The touchscreen is, oddly, the weak link in the chain.It’s a solid sheet of glass with a metal surround. As such, it becomes a heat sink and on warmer days readily absorbs heat to the point the bare finger gets singed. Perhaps a vent behind the screen or an embedded loop would do the trick.

When not barbecuing fingers, it’s a high resolution display, with the default being a monochromed look Google maps, with the option of displaying the satellite image, and the graphics that the car’s cameras and ultrasonic sensors read to show surrounding vehicles. The lower section has icons for menus, which then bring up the audio options, the entertainment options, the settings for the vehicles. Compared to the Standard Plus, the entertainment goes up a notch, with Netflix, YouTube, and Tesla instructional videos being made available.The steering wheel is devoid of anything bar two roller dials and the Tesla logo, and the dials manipulate some of the information provided via the touchscreen.One of the small yet user friendly things about Tesla is how the doors are operate. Here there are small tabs on the top of the door grip which are pressed to release the doors. And unlike the pricier Model S and Model X, there is no remote key fob with which to remotely open the doors. Everything is operated via a smartphone app. This remotely opens the charge flap, releases the charge cable, can summon the car, or prestart the air-conditioning system which includes dog mode. This allows those that wish to keep Poochie cool and stay in the car to do so, plus it flashes up on the screen a note to advise of this function being operated. Should the car need to be moved without the owner, a Concierge card is provided.

There is also the sound system. There are 14 speakers spread around the cabin, with the front setup not unlike a soundbar for a TV. It’s loud, punchy, clear as crystal. It’s that attention to detail that really appeals. USB ports? Four, thank you. Embedded information about charge locations? Indeed. Safety features? Lacks for nothing.On The Outside It’s: A condensed version of the larger Model S. Slimmer in all dimensions, and sitting slightly lower than the Standard Plus, it nonetheless has a very strong family look to the other two models, not unexpectedly. The windows, profile, the lines that join front and rear, a line over the hip, are all common for the Model 3, Model S, and Model X. The Model S and X have similar looking headlights, whereas the Model 3 goes its own way with a design that evokes Porsche. At the rear the tail lights are essentially identical. Michelin supply the Pilot Sport tyres and are 235/35/ZR20. Wheels on the car supplied were subtle looking alloys in a ten spoke design. Dry weight is not unexpectedly hefty. It’s 1,847 kilos. Boot capacity is 542L and of course there’s “frunk”. This is the front trunk, also accessed via the smartphone app, and provides extra space up front.Out On The Road It’s: Delightful in many ways. It’s rapid, in both standing start and overtaking. Intoxicating, endearing, stupid grin inducing rapid. But it’s this sheer muscle car power that makes it safer than people expect. Think coming up a merge lane to a freeway and the car that is oncoming behind you has the room to move right but doesn’t. A quick check of available space, a gentle press on the go pedal, and tomorrow is in front of you. Tesla quote 3.4 seconds for the sprint from standstill to 100. There is absolutely no reason to disbelieve that at all.

The starting procedure is simple. Foot on the brake, pull the right side steering column lever downwards and check that D is highlighted on the touchscreen. Floor the pedal. Take a breath because you’ll need it as suddenly your spine is somewhere in the back of the seat’s padding.Energy harvesting can add a bit more to the expected range, as the brakes have two settings. The standard is more than enough and in some situations mitigates needing the foot to hit the brake pedal, such is the power of the system. In some circumstances it’s enough to bring the car to a stop by itself and on a downhill run will grab the brakes and slow the car here solidly.

There’s also little to quibble about when it comes to the ride quality too. It’s up there with some of the better suspension combinations for suppleness, confidence building, and strikes an ideal balance between grip, sportiness, and dialing out intrusive road imperfections.A key selling point is the ability to drive autonomously. Most of our drive was done manually, and more so to fully enjoy the ability of the Model 3. To engage the self-drive, the car must first be able to clearly read the roadside markings and will show a grey steering wheel on the screen. A couple of gentle tugs on the right hand lever and this should then make that icon blue, indicating self-drive is engaged. Under no circumstances should the hands be fully removed from the wheel.

The steering on its own is spot on. It’s beautifully weighted, has only minimal feeling of being artificially being assisted, and is ratioed for two turns lock to lock.

At The End of the Drive. The Performance should be the pick over the Standard Plus for those that like to fully exploit a car’s abilities. The extra urge from the twin motors, the extra range, and perhaps even the extra entertainment features for some, make the Tesla Model 3 Performance a winner. Sure, it’s $120k in price but currently there are no other fully electric cars that come close to delivering what this car can: an all round powerhouse Performance.

 

2019 Toyota RAV4 GX Hybrid AWD: Private Fleet Car Review.

This Car Review Is About: Toyota released a Suburban Utility Vehicle in the late 1990s. Named the RAV4, or Recreational Activity Vehicle: 4-wheel drive, it’s this car that’s to “blame” for the rise of the SUV. In mid-2019 Toyota released a new version and it’s been a substantial upgrade. For the first time the RAV4 has been given a hybrid driveline option and it’s available across three of the four model model range. There is the entry GX, then GXL, Cruiser, and up-spec Edge, the only one not available with a Hybrid.Under The Bonnet Is: Power is either a 2.0L petrol or 2.5L hybrid. The GX is the only version available with a proper gearbox, a six speed manual, otherwise there is a Constant Variable Transmission for all bar the Edge. Driveline options are two or all wheel drive for the hybrids. The Edge also has only the 2.5L petrol and comes with an eight speed auto. Economy figures are startling. The GX manual is quoted as 6.8L/100km, and 6.5L/100km for the auto. Go hybrid (as tested) and it’s quoted as 4.7L100km for the standard engine, 4.8L/100km for the hybrid. These figures are on the combined cycle using 91RON. We averaged on a purely urban cycle a brilliant 5.5L/100km from the 55L tank. Kerb weight for the hybrid GX is quoted as 1,705kg.Peak power for the standard engine is 127kW. The two and AWD hybrid system is rated as 160kW/163kW. Peak torque from the 2.0L is 203Nm. The hybrid engine quotes 221Nm from the petrol engine only, with no figure from the Toyota website showing a combined torque number.

What’s It Cost?: This is where it can be a bit messy due to the variants. In Glacier White, with 2WD and 2.0L manual, my drive-away price was just over $34,300. Tap the AWD button and the website automatically updates to 2.5L hybrid and CVT. Price jumped to $42,203…Choosing Eclipse Black and the price went to $42,821. GXL starts at $39,628 for the 2.0L auto in white. Metallic paint takes it to $40,246, then the hybrid option in black goes to $45,911.On The Inside Is: A long list of standard equipment. Playthings for the front seat passengers include DAB audio on a slightly fiddly to use eight inch touchscreen, plus Bluetooth streaming, and USB/Aux. The layout can be modified in look however the default, in a three screen layout, is to have the navigation screen as the primary or larger, allowing audio, eco, clock, etc, to be moved around in the other two smaller screens. Naturally the Toyota app system provides flexibility. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are coming… Wireless phone charging is available in the GXL upwards. The rear seat passengers have charge points and airvents, plus the subwoofer for the audio is behind the driver.In the hybrid there is a screen that shows the drive system, with the display showing power being apportioned between the wheels, battery, and petrol engine. There is also a usage page that shows distance and economy figures. The driver has a smaller info screen and this shows on-the-fly eco info amongst the usual radio, safety, and connected device information. If there’s a query about the interior it’s to do with the dash design overall. It mirrors the blocky exterior and offers no sense of cockpit or wraparound. However, there’s a nice touch with knurled rubber surrounds to a couple of the dials under the screen. The rear seats are 60/40 split-fold and cargo space is 542L. Lift the rear floor and there is a space saver spare.

On The Outside Is: Dual exhaust pipes featuring at the rear under a manually operated tailgate. The exterior is a more solidly engineered look, with a blocky, non-organic design. The front end has a bulldog-jowl stance, with the grille line on either side a downturned angle. This echoes the stance in profile, with a longish nose giving a head’s down appearance. The rear is also squared off and has plenty of angles and straight lines. The cargo section houses a space-saver spare, with a full sizer being an option. Black polycarbonate body mouldings feature on the sides and under the front & rear lights.Head inside and all four windows are dual touched powered. Heated seats don’t appear until the Cruiser nor do powered seats. The GX has 17 inch alloys and 225/65 Bridgestone Atenza rubber. Lighting is halogen fog lamps and LED Projector, dusk sensing, headlights for the Hybrid. The cluster is surrounded by LEDS and it’s a classy look. Wing mirrors are power operated and heated.

What’s It Go Like?
Like the proverbial off a shovel. Although noticeably front wheel drive in normal drive situations with a heavy feel to the filler, it makes it abundantly clear that it’s a front wheel biased setup when punched hard off the line. The traction control system has been tweaked to allow a driver to launch hard but with some front wheel scrabbling, even with those 225 width tyres. It quickly picks up the drive and sends power to the rear as needed. And it gets away quickly, with no sense of feeling weighed down. In gera acceleration is pretty good too, just quietly, with rapid picup and response from the pedal push.There is electric power only up to 20 to 25 kp/h if using a light right foot, but then brings in the petrol engine above that, or quicker for a heavier throttle input. There’s a few vibrations on engagement and these too disappear quickly. The petrol engine is muted in sound and when heard has a dulled metallic edge to its note. It’s a delightful highway cruiser and is as equally adept around the ‘burbs. Although the steering is front heavy it’s weighted enough to have the driver connected and aware of what’s going on with the MacPherson strut setup. On the highways it lightens enough to have lane changing feel natural, nimble, and confident, rather than imparting a sense of heaviness.Ride quality is fantastic. It’s supple and compliant, with well controlled damping. The trailing wishbone rear has a slightly tauter feel to deal with the 580L cargo space. This means slow speed bumps have the rear bang a bit harder but still not uncomfortably so.

Naturally the braking feel is en pointe, with instant engagement from the barest touch. It’s a natural and instinctive travel too, with the modulation as finely adjusted as you can get to read, via the foot, just where the pedal is and what it’s doing.What About Safety?: Passengers are wrapped in seven airbags, for good measure. Toyota crams its SafetySense package into the new RAV4 range and it’s a potent package. Lane Departure Alert, Blind Spot Monitoring, Lane Trace Assist with the CVT model, plus Pre-Collision with pedestrian and cyclist. Then there is Rear Cross Traffic Alert, front parking sensor alert, Road Sign Assist, Active Cruise Control, and auto high beam.At The End Of The Drive. Toyota have gone hard on the hybrid philosophy, and it’s working. There’s a high level of standard equipment and safety, a dogged, assertive look, and it’s not a bad drive. Aurally it’s as dull as dishwater, the bulldog looks may not appeal to all after coming from a more angular and sharper exterior, and the fiddly touchscreen may also not be a winner. Head to the Toyota website for more, or check the spec sheet here.

 

Japanese Makers Fire Electric Shots.

Both Nissan and Mazda have unveiled electric vehicles. Nissan’s is a test bed design and Mazda their first full production version. Nissan’s car is based on the Leaf e+ with Mazda naming theirs the MX30.

The Nissan has an all wheel drive system, with twin motors. Nissan also factors in their bespoke chassis control technology. The engines provide up to 227kW and a massive 680Nm of peak torque. The test car has a control system that adds regenerative braking to the rear motor as well as the front. Pitch and dive are minimised as a result. In addition to optimising the torque that’s spread between the front and rear, it also applies independent brake control at each of the four wheels to maximise the cornering force generated by each tyre.
Mazda’s car is an SUV as well. It’s powered by what Mazda call “e-Skyactiv system” It can be charged using AC power or rapid-charged using DC power. The system involves the battery, motor, an inverter and a DC-DC control unit. The inverter changes the DC to AC for the motors with the converter providing the charge for the onboard systems.

Mazda also engineer in a refrigerant cooling system that cools the battery pack when the temperature rises. By maintaining the best possible battery temperature even on hot days, the system helps protect the battery pack from degrading due to heat. Thin cooling tubes attached to the bottom plane of the battery module make contact with a heat exchanger. This structure contributes to realizing a compact battery pack. A sensor constantly monitors the battery’s temperature and controls the flow of coolant as needed. The result is an effective battery cooling system. There’s a single motor, mounted up front, and it will provide drive to the front or or four paws. The battery pack is rated at 35.5kWh, and has an expected range of around 200km. There is also a acceleration system called Motor Pedal. This adjusts on the fly response to throttle inputs and adjusts acceleration as well, depending on the speed the driver presses the accelerator pedal.

A key identifier for the MX-30 is the design. Not unlike the recently released 3 hatch, it features long and flowing lines, a curvaceous body, and suicide doors. It’s also green oriented, with cork and recycled plastic bottles being used in the interior trim. It’s not yet confirmed for the Australian market but it’s definitely in Mazda Au’s want list.

2019 Nissan Pathfinder ST 7 Seater: Private Fleet Car Review

This Car Review Is About: The 2019 specification Nissan Pathfinder ST. It’s the entry level version to the second biggest passenger oriented car in their range. The vehicle provided was fitted with seven seats across three rows and that’s standard fitment.How Much Does It Cost?: The Nissan website has the ST 4×2 as starting from $44,490. The 4×4 version is from $51,550.

Under The Bonnet Is: A petrol fed 3.5L V6 with a CVT and AWD drivetrain. Power is rated as 202kW @ 6,400rpm, and peak torque is a decent 340Nm @ 4,800rpm. Economy is quoted as 10.1L per 100km on the combined cycle. That’s from a 73.0L tank and a tare weight of 2005kg. We finished on 11.1L/100km for a mainly urban drive.On The Outside Is: A big body. At 5,042mm in length it masks that by a svelte and curvaceous shape. The aerodynamics of the body contribute to both a “it looks smaller than it is” and a drag coefficient of 0.33. That’s pretty slippery for a big SUV. It stands at 1,793mm, making it one of the taller vehicles of its type. It’s broad, at 1,960mm and has a 2,900mm wheelbase. So, yes, it’s big, but by having more curves than a supermodel convention, it genuinely looks a lot smaller.

The front end is dominated by Nissan’s current design stamp. That distinctive “Vee” motif is across all of its SUVs and some of the smaller passenger cars, as are the thin headlights, almost invisible indicator light, and curvaceously swept fenders. There is also a pair of inserts in the lower bumpers that will have driving lights fitted in higher spec models. That long body is highlighted by a subtle curve from the front window, sine-waving its way towards the tail lights and enhancing a subtle flare over the rear wheels. Passenger windows are blacked out as well for security and privacy. The tailgate on the ST is manually operated, and opens to a cargo space of 453L with the simple to operate third row seats raised. From the rear there’s a distinctive slope to the body, from the Continental 235/65/18 Cross Contact rubber inwards to the high roof.On The Inside It’s: Roomy, comfortable, and a bit confusing. We’ll cover that in detail shortly.

Firstly , the view from the driver’s seat shows a slab of black ahead of the passenger, an easy to read 8-inch touchscreen that sits above a busy looking two-section for audio and climate control, before ending in a mix of traditional and hi-tech for the binnacle.The slab ahead of the driver could very easily be made to look more visually appealing, for starters. The ambience found in competitors from Korea, and similarly sized Japanese offerings are of a more suitable level. There’s plenty of head, shoulder, and hip room though, meaning taller and wider passengers shouldn’t feel cramped.

Then there is the touchscreen and it has a feature that is bemusing. Sports oriented cars have a G-force meter. This shows lateral and longitudinal forces during acceleration , braking, and cornering. It’s ideal for the GT-R. It’s out of place here.

Visually the controls for audio and climate control are somewhat hard to take in. Ergonomically they’re poorly placed, being well below the driver’s line of sight. Then there’s the additional fact that that the touchscreen has aircon controls as part of its programming…Inside the binnacle are traditional dials placed either side of a information screen that has an almost holographic look to it. It’s exotic and cool simultaneously. Counterbalancing this is the programming on one button on the left spoke of the steering wheel. Like virtually every maker now, there are two tabs to access the centre ino screen and the submenus. There is normally a rocker tab to access the submenu information. Here this one changes the radio stations instead…

The driver’s pew is electronic for movement as is the passenger’s, a nice touch, and starting the ST is push button operated, also a nice touch. Remember, the ST is the entry level.

In between the front seats is a relatively uncluttered console, housing a dial for the AWD system, and a non-manual gear selector. There is a push tab for Sports mode, but no option for manual gear selection. No, there are no paddle shifters on the steering column. The largish wheel houses the usual selection of tabs for audio, info, and cruise control.The second row seats are marked to indicate they fold flat, and they slide forward. The third row are pull strap operated to fold, and they provide an almost perfectly flat cargo space as a result. Cargo capacity goes to 1,354L with the third row folded, and a huge 2,260L with the middle row flat.

There is also a separate set of aircon controls for the second and third row passenger seats. Back up front and the audio system is AM/FM/CD plus Bluetooth streaming. No DAB but that can be added via USB connection.Safety Features Are: Airbags all around, Front Collision Warning and Intelligent Emergency Braking, plus Blind Spot Alert. Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Reverse Camera with guidelines are standard as well. The spare is a space saver however there is tyre pressure monitoring as standard.

On The Road It’s: Mostly a benign drive. Although nominally an AWD it’s predominantly front wheel biased, and the steering tells that story clearly. There’s a constant and gentle pull on the tiller, saying that the pesky V6 engine is driving the front wheels more than the rear pretty much all of the time.

Traction and grip levels are high, however. There’s no sense of the rear breaking away when driven exuberantly, and the front overcomes its incessant gentle pulling at the wheel, becoming more conversational about the drive and the road. Rubber is 235/65/18 Continental Cross LX Sport.

Damping is well sorted too. There’s minimal float, with rebound limited and dialled out quickly. Initial response to the usual road imperfections is quick, absorbing some of the more notably intrusive joins and bumps to the point their actual impact was negligible.

Front to rear balance was also well sorted, with both ends feeling the same, rather than a tighter or slightly looser response. Adding to the competent chassis is a nicely balanced brake feel. With a travel that tells the driver just where the pads are on their way to or from the discs, pulling up to a stopped vehicle, stop sign, or red light was intuitive and easy to judge. The weak spot here is the CVT, or Constant Variable Transmission. Also known as a stepless transmission, it’s evolved from its essentially single gear beginnings to having steps, or gera, programmed in to make it feel like a more normal transmission as it changes. These transmissions are best suited to smaller (read:less torque) engines. The issue here is that they feel like a manual transmission with a badly word clutch plate when put to the sword. There’s a feeling of slipping the gear, that not all of the torque is being utilised by the transmission, and therefore not as efficient in getting the engine’s workload through to the tyres.

In the Pathfinder ST, that 340Nm has a fairly steep torque curve from low revs, the engines normal and best operating range when underway. That torque really does seem to overwhelm the CVT here and one suspects that a traditional torque converter style transmission would be far more effective and more economical, especially with ratios of eight, nine, ten cogs now available. And remembering there is no manual change option, then there’s no change to exploit the torque more efficiently. Warranty And Services Are: Five years and capped price. Information is here.

At The End Of The Drive. The Pathfinder ST is by no means an unpleasant vehicle to drive. It’s a solid and competitive seven seater, making it an almost ideal family transporter. Having seven seats, and a third row that’s easy to operate go a long way to help the cause. There’s plenty of room for seven passengers and the seats are comfortable. Instrumentation is mostly user friendly however the dash below the touchscreen needs work. Then there’s the drivetrain. Even a DCT would be a better option for a big engine than the CVT.

Here is some extra information.